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Prince William suggests Commonwealth could be led by a non-royal one day

Prince William has ended a tour of the Caribbean by suggesting he doesn’t mind if he isn’t head of the Commonwealth in future – and that he believes one day it may be led by someone other than a member of the Royal Family.

In remarks issued to mark the end of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s first official trip to the region, he said: “Who the Commonwealth chooses to lead its family in the future isn’t what is on my mind.

“What matters to us is the potential the Commonwealth family has to create a better future for the people who form it, and our commitment to serve and support as best we can.”

His comments are striking when you consider the importance of the Commonwealth to the Queen throughout her reign as head of the institution.

In 2018, she made it clear that she wanted the Prince of Wales to take on the role following her death, a wish that the Commonwealth voted through.

In William’s parting comments at the end of a week-long visit to Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas, he acknowledged the controversies that have flared up during the tour around calls for him to apologise for the Royal Family’s role in the slave trade and increasing demands in Jamaica to break ties with institution.

There has also been a perception that some of the photo opportunities have looked outdated and colonial.

William said: “I know that this tour has brought into even sharper focus questions about the past and the future.

“In Belize, Jamaica, and the Bahamas, that future is for the people to decide upon. But we have thoroughly enjoyed spending time with communities in all three countries, understanding more about the issues that matter most to them.”

It’s understood that throughout the tour the prince has altered some of his speeches, sometimes adjusting the tone at short notice, especially following conversations with the prime ministers in each of the countries.

“Foreign tours are an opportunity to reflect,” he said. “You learn so much, (including, for example), what is on the minds of prime ministers.”

William also used the statement to re-emphasise the couple’s commitment to carrying on with this important overseas diplomatic work.

“Catherine and I are committed to service,” he said.

“For us, that’s not telling people what to do. It is about serving and supporting them in whatever way they think best, by using the platform we are lucky to have. It is why tours such as this reaffirm our desire to serve the people of the Commonwealth and to listen to communities around the world.”

On the final day of their tour, William and Kate visited the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama to draw attention to the work still going on to rebuild the island communities following Hurricane Dorian in 2019.

Wind gusts of up to 230mph hit the islands, making it the worst hurricane the Bahamas has ever seen.

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